Entrance to the Milberg Gallery installed with exhibiton panels and books on display for the Good Books exhibition.

Photo courtesy Princeton University Library

In conjunction with the Princeton University Library’s exhibition In the Company of Good Books: Shakespeare to Morrison, in the Firestone Library’s Milberg Gallery and in relationship to Program in Theater Lecturer Chesney Snow’s course “The Oral Interpretation of Toni and William,” the Lewis Center for the Arts’ presents When Pages Breathe: Bringing Good Books to Life. Four actors—award-winning film, television, and stage actor Antoinette LaVecchia; veteran Shakespearean actor Maren Maclean; Tony and Obie Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson; and Tony-nominated writer and performer Sharon Washington—and Lewis Center Chair Judith Hamera will read selected works from the exhibition. The exhibition, which honors the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623, draws from the Library’s diverse collection of English language literature and many of the writers and readers who brought life to English literature around the world, such as a 1598 first edition of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Toni Morrison’s handwritten manuscript drafts of Desdemona. Selections to be read by the actors include Toni Morrison’s Beloved, John Milton, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Phillis Wheatley, Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, and Walt Whitman. Curated and hosted by Chesney Snow.

Read the press release

Evening Schedule: Tuesday, Oct. 10

  • 5:30 PM — Tours of the exhibition at the Princeton University Firestone Library
  • 6:30 PM — Reception in Chancellor Green Upper Hyphen
  • 7 PM — Reader’s Theater Performance in Chancellor Green Rotunda

Registration Information & Details

The event is free & open to public; advance registration required.

The event is currently fully booked. Please join the waiting list using the registration link below. You’ll be notified if a place opens up.

Register to attend the Readers Theater


Get directions to Firestone Library. The “Good Books” exhibition runs through December 10, 2023, in the Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery at Firestone Library.

Get directions to Chancellor Green, located in East Pyne Hall, across Rivers Way from the Library.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityThe Library’s Milberg Gallery is wheelchair accessible from the main entrance. Chancellor Green Rotunda and Upper Hyphen are accessible via an elevator in the lobby of East Pyne Hall. Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email at least one week in advance of the event date.


About the Guest Actors

Antoinette LaVecchia

Antoinette LaVecchia. Photo courtesy the artist

Antoinette LaVecchia is known to television audiences for her work on The Sopranos, the reboot of Mad About You, The Deuce, and Blindspot, and her film work includes Team Marco, Deliver Us From Evil, and Delirious. She has appeared on Broadway in Torch Song and A View From The Bridge and appeared in leading roles off-Broadway and in regional theater including in McCarter Theatre’s A Comedy of Tenors in 2015. She has received several acting awards and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award.



Maren Maclean

Maren Maclean. Photo courtesy the artist.

Maren Maclean is a core member of The Bridge Initiative and is currently working on her sixth official production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as Southwest Shakespeare Company’s voice and dialect coach. She has worked primarily as an actor but also as director, dramaturg, and designer for theaters such as Utah Shakespearean Festival, Phoenix Theatre, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Verse Theatre Manhattan, Nearly Naked Theatre, Algonquin Theatre Company, and The Shakespeare Theatre, and she has worked with programs serving incarcerated populations.



Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo courtesy the artist.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson received the 1996 Tony Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Drama for August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. The Broadway premiere of his autobiographical solo show Lackawanna Blues received the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, as well as a Tony nomination in the same category, and he received a Humanitas Prize in writing for the HBO film adaptation. He directed the 2017 revival of Wilson’s Jitney, which received the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Santiago-Hudson co-starred opposite Phylicia Rashad on Broadway in Gem of the Ocean in 2004 and has appeared in numerous roles in film and television. In 2009 he received the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award.



Sharon Washington

Sharon Washington. Photo courtesy the artist.

Sharon Washington was nominated for a 2023 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical as co-writer of New York New York. Her solo play Feeding The Dragon was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, and won an Audelco Award. As an actor, Washington was seen as Queen Margaret in the Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III starring Dania Gurira and broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. Her recent film and television appearances include Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Bull, and the Academy Award-winning Joker. She appeared on Broadway in The Scottsboro Boys musical, in a number of off-Broadway productions, as well as regional theaters around the country including Guthrie Theater, Denver Center, and Arena Stage, among many others.



Presented By

  • Firestone Library
  • Program in Theater